Some people in Hoopa and Orleans are still without electricity and have been so since Tuesday, when snowstorms took out a transmission line at several spots in the east county. Snowed-in roads have been making it difficult for crews trying to get power back online, but most (not all) of the customers affected by that Tuesday outage have been brought back online.

Now the utility says it’s readying itself for the “atmospheric river” rainstorm will be hitting California over the next few days. Part of the preparation includes installing generators in Hoopa and Orleans, which should help mitigate additional damage to the areas of the county its lineworkers have been spending much of the last week restoring.

The following was sent by PG&E last night:

The safety of our customers, crews and communities we serve is PG&E’s top priority.  There are more than 18 crews working safely and as quickly as possible to restore power outages in Humboldt County. Most of those crews currently are working in Hoopa and the Orleans area.  They continue to assess distribution lines and will make additional repairs throughout the evening.  There are currently about 700 customers in Humboldt County without power due to the winter storm earlier this week, including 212 in Hoopa and 422 in Orleans.  Snow and blocked roads have made it difficult to reach our equipment and poles in some areas.  We have been using snowcats and with the help of CalTrans are making our way through major arteries along Highway 96.   Estimated restoral time for half of the customers in Hoopa is by this evening.

To reduce the number of possible future outages over the weekend, we are installing a generator in Hoopa tonight.  We are in the process of installing another generator to the Orleans area, which will help restore some customers.  These generators are plugged into the substations and  will restore power to portions of those distribution systems while PG&E continues to make repairs.  In the event that weekend storm impacts the transmission line, which is what occurred on Tuesday, the generators will also reduce the number of customers affected by that outage.    

PG&E is also preparing for the winter storm that’s expected this weekend with our storm outage prediction models that help us determine the potential timing, location and number of power outages. PG&E is utilizing the latest technology to help us restore power more quickly and efficiently after a storm as well as timely and accurate outage data from our SmartMeter network. PG&E has more than 20 crews and resources on alert and ready to respond to outages as soon as they occur.

PG&E has also activated local emergency centers to respond to this storm. PG&E routinely practices its preparedness and response to storms and other emergencies through company exercises and through drills with local first responders. PG&E encourages customers to have a plan, prepare for power outages and above all else, stay safe. Have flashlights, radios and fresh batteries ready and know where to go for updates on storm conditions and power outages.